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EMS News in Focus
by Arthur Hsieh

Ends, means and ethics: Where the 'racy photos' story left off

We created a quick poll to get your feelings about this incident, and here are your answers

By Arthur Hsieh

Editor's note: Last week, we asked for your feelings on the racy photo fundraiser incident. Here's what you thought.

Last week I wrote about the racy photos that showed Florida firefighters prancing around on stage in various stages of undress. It was for a good cause — raising money for charity — but I questioned whether the end justified the means.

EMS1 created a quick poll to get your feelings about this incident, and I think the results are telling.

1. Do you feel that it was ethically OK for the department members to conduct themselves in the manner described in the story?

Of the respondents, 57.1 percent felt that it was not ethically OK for the department members to conduct themselves in the manner described in the story. But 31.4 percent felt it was fine. This is what I imagined the response to this question to be. When no law is broken and the situation does not address a high moral ground, people's internal set of values and morals vary widely.

2. Do you feel that your reputation as a responder is affected by what your peers do?

A greater proportion (75.5 percent) of you did feel that the actions of peers affects their own reputation. Despite our opinions on certain situations, we do feel very strongly about our identity. Regardless of where we are, what happens in another part of the region or even nationally gives us personal pride — or shame.

3. If you were at the event described in the story as a member of the same department, would you have reported the behavior of the staff involved?

Very interestingly, of the respondents who didn't agree with the firefighters' behavior, less than half (47.2 percent) indicated that they would NOT report the incident to authorities. Is this because the desire to stay out of other people's business is stronger than privately disagreeing with the behavior?

What are your thoughts on the results?

About the author

EMS1 Editorial Advisor Art Hsieh, MA, NREMT-P currently teaches at the Public Safety Training Center, Santa Rosa Junior College in the Emergency Care Program. Since 1982, Art has worked as a line medic and chief officer in the private, third service and fire-based EMS. He has directed both primary and EMS continuing education programs. Art is a textbook author, has presented at conferences nationwide, and continues to provide patient care at an EMS service in Northern California. Contact Art at
The comments below are member-generated and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of or its staff. If you cannot see comments, try disabling privacy and ad blocking plugins in your browser. All comments must comply with our Member Commenting Policy.

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